Sep 27, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

2013 Review: Chicago White Sox

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The 2013 Chicago White Sox

Record: 63-99 (Last place in A.L. Central)

The 2013 season of the Chicago White Sox, the 30th anniversary season of the ’83 “Win Ugly” team, was just that … ugly. This team was the “Lose Ugly” squad that failed to live up to any expectations this past season.

The Sox who reside on the South Side of Chicago finished as the second-worst team in the American League and the third-worst team in MLB, one season after finishing in second place in the AL Central in ’12 with a .500 mark.

Manager Robin Ventura saw his team score 598 runs, but allow 723 as his team never saw first place in the standings following April 7. Even comparing the two halves of their season, they were 37-55 in the first half, and it got even worse for the Sox with a 26-44 mark in the final 70 games of the regular season. They were 8-15 in extra-inning contests and were 24-36 in game decided by one run.

In games that were decided by five or more runs, they went 7-21, and in interleague games, they also had a losing mark of 8-12.
Even with the various losing marks, the Sox sill had some good moments, and looking ahead to the 2014 season, it can’t get much worse for the Sox as they were able to avoid the dreaded 100-loss mark this past season.

 

Three Positives

• The pitching of Chris Sale was phenomenal for the Sox this season. With very little run support all season, Sale was a workhorse for the Sox pitching staff. He wrapped up the season at 11-14 overall, with an ERA of 3.07. In his 30 starts, the 24-year-old pitched four complete games, compiling 214 innings with 226 strikeouts.

The left-hander was at times rumored to be on the trading block because of his value, but ultimately the Sox made the right decision and kept the ace on the roster. His WHIP was 1.073, and he walked just 1.9 batters per nine innings, while his strikeouts per nine innings was 9.5.

He was a gem in an otherwise tarnished season for the Sox and deserved a better win-loss mark, but never had the run support.

 

• Jose Quintana proved this past season he could be another pivotal part of the Sox’s pitching staff in ’14.

The 24-year old was just 9-7 overall, but in 200.0 innings pitched, his ERA was 3.51 and he totaled 164 strikeouts.
For a team that averaged less than four runs a game, I felt Quintana had a very respectable season. He was the only other Sox starter to hit the 200-inning mark and the only other starter to have a winning mark. In a season full of lowlights, he was one of the few highlights.

 

• They kept their losses to under 100. This is big for a young team. Sure, one loss really doesn’t make a big difference, but when your team has 99 losses compared to 100, it just doesn’t feel as bad.

The Sox were darn close to losing 100 games, but managed to earn a win in the midst of losing five of their final six games to end the regular season. I know it isn’t much, but not losing 100 games in a season is always an accomplishment.

 

Three negatives

• Not one player on the team who played regularly has a batting average of at least .300. The leader was Alexei Ramirez at .284. In second was Alex Rios at .277, but he was traded after 109 games this season, so actually in second was Gordon Beckham at .267 in 103 games. To make it easy, the Sox were terrible at the plate.

From a team that had a team batting average of .249, nothing was that great from the plate.

 

• Their overall play this season was stagnant. They never seemed to be excited or happy to be on the field. I don’t expect a rah-rah type of player, but the play of this squad just seemed to be ‘let’s get this over with and go home.’

A lot of that is on Ventura, as a team will take on the personality of their manager, and I felt this team exactly did that and it showed from their play the past season.

 

• The White Sox should have kept A.J. Pierzynski on the roster because they had no leadership on the team once they traded Jake Peavy, Alex Rios and Paul Konerko missed parts of the season.

Tyler Flowers didn’t meet expectations this past season, his first as a full-time catcher, and I believe Pierzynski would have made a difference for the pitching staff in ’13.

 

Final thoughts
They already tried to improve with their hitting by signing Jose Abreu to a $68 million deal and are still in the market to improve tremendously.

One player on their radar is Curtis Granderson, an oft-injured outfielder of the New York Yankees.

At Hardball Talk, Craig Calcaterra wrote about the possibility of signing Granderson:

“Which, OK, the Sox are kind of a mess and need to rebuild, and a 32 year-old outfielder who spent most of 2013 injured is usually not the stuff of rebuilding.  At the same time, however, there’s no rule that says every rebuilding club has to level the old structure and start fresh.”

Whatever the Sox do this offseason, it is clear a lot needs to be done. It has all but been officially announced that Paul Konerko will not return, and I believe Adam Dunn needs to hit the trail as well, as he spoke about the possibility of retiring as well if he doesn’t feel the passion anymore in spring training.

This offseason will be most interesting for the Sox, because if they don’t continue to add more pieces to this faulty lineup, we’ll see even more of the same in 2014.

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